Today in Islamophobia

A daily list of headlines about Islamophobia
compiled by the Bridge Initiative

Each day, the Bridge Initiative aims to bring you the news you need to know about Islamophobia. This resource will be updated every weekday at approximately 11:00 AM EST.

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29 May 2024

Today in Islamophobia: In the UK, British politician Nigel Farage has said that the country is moving towards “sectarian politics with women completely excluded” in inner cities and towns, meanwhile in Australia, a left-leaning Senator Sarah Henderson has stated that Australia has ‘no issue’ with Islamophobia, an assertion which many in Australia’s Muslim community find grossly inconsistent with their experience, and in Canada, Ottawan Muslims are fearful of wearing identifiably Islamic clothing in public as a wave of violent attacks and arrests have the community in a state of increased anxiety and growing concern for their wellbeing. Our recommended read of the day is by Sushant Singh for Foreign Policy on how incumbent Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is doubling down on anti-Muslim language as the general election comes to a close next week. This and more below:


Modi’s Campaign Rhetoric Is Dangerous | Recommended Read

India is in the middle of a 44-day exercise to elect its next government, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi tipped to return his Bharatiya Janata Party to power for a third consecutive term. Modi, who aims to win nearly three-quarters of the country’s 543 parliamentary seats, has surprised many observers by using dehumanizing anti-Muslim language on the campaign trail—rhetoric that is more direct than that of his past speeches. So far, the BJP campaign has focused on creating an irrational fear among India’s Hindu majority that if Modi doesn’t return as prime minister, a share of their private wealth and affirmative action job quotas will be given to Indian Muslims. Modi and his party have doubled down on this narrative at a moment when reports suggest that their quest for a supermajority is unlikely to succeed. The brazen continuation of such anti-Muslim rhetoric differentiates this campaign from the two others that have put Modi in the prime minister’s office. Hate speech is a criminal offense in India, and it is specifically barred during an election campaign. However, Modi chose the three leaders of India’s Election Commission, the agency charged with conducting free and fair polls, and it has ignored his flagrant violations of the election code. As a result, as the campaign continues through the end of May, so too will Modi’s anti-Muslim tirades. India is expected to announce its election results on June 4. If the BJP wins and Modi is once again crowned prime minister, his Islamophobic rhetoric will not simply disappear. Many political leaders campaign in poetry and govern in prose, but hateful rhetoric has real-life consequences. Modi’s campaign speeches have put a target on Indian Muslims’ backs, redirecting the anger of poor and marginalized Hindu communities away from crony capitalists and the privileged upper castes. It underscores an attempt to make members of the Muslim minority second-class citizens in a de facto Hindu Rashtra, or state. read the complete article

India’s election campaign turns negative as Modi and ruling party embrace Islamophobic rhetoric

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is increasingly resorting to overtly Islamophobic language during his election campaign, critics and observers say, as he seeks a third straight term governing the world’s most populous nation. As turnout in the polls so far shows a slight dip from five years ago, the popular leader – and overwhelming favorite – has embraced negative campaigning, they say, and received little pushback from civil society or election authorities. Followers of Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) – and some of its top figures – have long been accused of using inflammatory language to describe the country’s 200 million Muslims, but rarely Modi himself. However this election has brought a clear shift, critics say. The shift in tone is making many Indian Muslims nervous. “Modi and the BJP have for a long time been making references to the community, but it’s moved on from the dog whistle,” said political researcher and columnist Asim Ali. “It’s painting us as an existential threat to Hindus. It’s coming directly from the prime minister. It’s anti-Muslim, and it’s dangerous.” Modi and his BJP have repeatedly said they do not discriminate against minority groups. But analysts and observers have noted multiple speeches he’s made during this six-week election campaign, that began last month, specifically refer to Muslims and paint them in a negative light. read the complete article

United Kingdom

I have voted for Labour in every single election since I was 18 – until now

Since I was a teenager, I have stayed up for hours on election night watching the votes roll in and clinging onto hope for a landslide Labour victory. Yet, ironically, despite this year being the first time in my living memory that a Labour win is almost guaranteed, I feel nothing but apathy towards the General Election that has now been called for July 4. Gaza has changed everything for me – and for many others. However I can no longer entertain the idea of lending my vote to a party that I see as complicit in the massacre of 35,000 people, the maiming of thousands more and the utter decimation of infrastructure in Gaza. Admittedly, even before Israel escalated its 76 years of military occupation in Gaza to a full blown assault, I had already grown weary with a Labour party that seemed to offer no real alternative to the decades of Tory rule wrought upon this country. Under Keir Starmer, the party’s support of austerity policies like the two child benefit cap – which plunges millions of children into poverty – the treatment of minority MPs like Diane Abbott and Afsana Begum, as well as their recurring problem with islamophobia was enough to leave me feeling despondent. But I still clung to the idea that they were the lesser of two evils. But for me, this changed in October 2023 when Starmer was asked on LBC Radio if ‘cutting off power [and] cutting off water’ during a siege in Gaza was appropriate. He replied that ‘Israel does have that right’, despite this constituting a war crime, according to UN experts. For a potential future Prime Minister – not to mention former human rights lawyer – to advocate for the treatment of civilians this way smacks of a wider problem of islamophobia in the Labour party. read the complete article

UK moving to ‘sectarian politics’ with women excluded from inner cities, says Farage

Nigel Farage has said Britain is moving towards “sectarian politics with women completely excluded” in inner cities and towns, as he called for rising levels of Channel crossings to be declared a “national security emergency”. Reform UK’s honorary president also defended comments he made on Sunday saying a growing number of Muslims do not share British values, and rejected accusations over the years that he had used antisemitic and Islamophobic dog whistles. “I talked over the course of the weekend to [Sky News presenter] Trevor Phillips, about the small but worryingly growing number of young men, predominantly young men in this country, adopting radical views, views that aren’t just un-British, but views that frankly are extremely anti-British.” read the complete article


Muslims in Ottawa share what it's like amid a recent wave of hate after Oct. 7

Walking to his mosque in Ottawa's Blossom Park neighbourhood for Friday prayer, Abdulla Al Aidie wears a traditional flowing garment called a thobe. It's something the 23-year-old Palestinian-Canadian is comfortable wearing in the southern part of the national capital he and other Muslims call home, he says. But he wouldn't dare wear the garb in downtown Ottawa, he says, not after an incident a few years ago when he was walking with his family in downtown Montreal. "We were called terrorists," he recalled. In today's climate, after the Israel-Hamas war that began on Oct. 7 and ignited a fresh wave of Islamophobia worldwide, Abdulla Al Aidie fears he could be subjected to more than just hateful words. Last week, the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) charged a 74-year-old local woman with assault, harassment and mischief for allegedly removing a hijab from a demonstrator near city hall. In January, the police force flagged a 160-per-cent, year-over-year jump in hate-related incidents against Muslims, while Jewish people were the most victimized group in OPS's most recent data from 2023, with 92 incidents reported last year. read the complete article


A Liberal Senator has claimed Australia has 'no issue' with Islamophobia. Canberra's Nazmul Hasan disagrees

Liberal Senator Sarah Henderson has stated Australia has 'no issue' with Islamophobia. Community leader Nazmul Hasan disagrees. A passionate voice for unity across multicultural Muslim and Australian communities, Nazmul organises interfaith and multicultural events in addition to his charitable work. Nazmul was honoured with the ACT Outstanding Excellence Award for Diversity and Inclusion 2022 and was the winner of the ABC Canberra Community Spirits Award 2022. ABC's Adam Shirley spoke with Nazmul Hasan about his experiences with Islamophobia. read the complete article

Today in Islamophobia, 29 May 2024 Edition


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